A really cool thing happened today – I had a referral come to this blog from a prestigious newspaper’s website forum on career and management styles. At first I was like “Wow! I’ve been noticed by a leading periodical.” Then I read the content of one of the posts on the site and lost my mind. No – the post wasn’t something bad about me or my blog. It was offering advice that made me cringe as a professional manager.
The advice was about how to give critical feedback to your team members. It suggested:
“Use the ‘sandwich technique.’ When delivering a critique, it’s important to censure the behavior, not the individual. One of the easiest ways to encourage receptivity is to preface your criticism with a positive statement about the person’s job performance or character. Once you’ve fortified his ego, deliver the bad news. Ensure that he received the message, and knows how to correct the situation. Then close the conversation with an affirmation.”
Pardon me. I just had an embolism.
Sorry. I don’t subscribe to this particular way of doing business. Where I come from, we call the above “The But(t) Sandwich.” You’re offering kind words at the beginning and end (the bread) and the criticism in the middle (the meat). The word “but” typically separates the bread from the meat and the meat from the bread. Unfortunately, while it looks appetizing on the menu, it goes down like a butt (deliberately spelled with two t’s) sandwich. Allow me to elaborate: